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tv   NOW With Alex Wagner  MSNBC  May 4, 2012 12:00pm-1:00pm EDT

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that's the kind of investment in our own people that will helped us lead the world in business and science and tool and medicine. that's what made us an economic superpower. but unfortunately, since you guys were born, which doesn't seem that long ago to me, maybe it does to you, the cost of going to college has more than doubled. and that means students have to take out more loans. it's now to the point where the average student who borrows to pay for college graduates with about $25,000 worth of debt. $25,000. and americans now owe more for their student loans than they do on their credit cards. now, i want to -- i want to give you guys some relief from that debt. i don't want you to start off life saddled with debt. and i don't want your parents to be taking on so much debt, as well. [ applause ]
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because when you start off already owing a lot of money graduating from school, it means making a lot of really tough choices like maybe waiting longer to buy a house or to start a family. or to chase that career that you really want. and like i said, michele and i know about this. we graduated from college and law school with a truckload of student loan debt. we got married, and together, we got poor. after we graduated, we were lucky enough to land good jobs. so it was still a great investment for us to go to college and law school, but we only finished paying off our student loans about eight years ago. and i know some of your teachers here probably can relate. when we should have been starting to save up for malia and sasha's college educations, we were still paying off our educations. so we can't price the middle class out of a higher education.
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we've got to make college more affordable. that's why we fixed a broken student loan system that was giving tins of billions of dollars to big banks and we said you let's use that money to help more people afford college. that's why we strengthened aid for low income students. that's why we fought to set up a new independent consumer watchdog agency that's now working with every student and their parents tore access a simple fact sheet on stupid loans and financial aid. so you can make your own choices, the best choices about how to pay for college. we call it know before you owe. know before you owe. but making college more affordable isn't something government can or should do alone. i was mentioning to your classmates, we're talking to colleges and universities about doing their part. and i've told congress to steer federal aid to schools that keep
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tuition affordable and provide good value and of tear students well. if colleges and universities can't stop their costs from going up, then the funding may get from taxpayers -- they get from taxpayers that should go down. we should steer it to schools that are really giving students the best deal. and states have to do their part. by making higher education a higher priority in their budgets. last year, over 40 states cut their higher education spending. these cuts have been among the largest drivers of public college tuition increases over the past decade. so we told states, if you can find new ways to bring down the cost of college make it easier for students to graduate, then we're going to help you do it. which is good news. [ applause ] and congress also has to do its part.
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[ applause ] right now, that means preventing the interest rates on federal student loans from doubling which would make it harder for you to pay for college next year. the three classmates of yours that i met, they're all getting stafford loans to help pay for college. and these stafford loans right now the you have a very low interest rate because five years ago, congress cut the rate for these student loans in half. that was a good idea. it made college more affordable. but here's the bad news. uh-oh. on july 1st, less than two months from now, that will rate cut expires. and interest rates on those loans will double overnight. it's not good. for each year that college doesn't act, the average student
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with these stafford loans rack up an additional thousand dollars in debt. that's like a thousand dollar tax hike for more than 7 million students across america. now, let me ask, is that something that you can afford if you're going to zplej you guys shouldn't have to pay an extra thousand dollars just because congress can't get its act together. this should be a no-brainer, this thing we need to get done. so the good news is the senate will the vote next week on a bill that would keep student loan rates from doubling. and some republican senators look like they might support it. i'm ready to work with them to make it happen, but unfortunately, rather than find a bipartisan way to fix this problem, the house republicans are saying they're only going to prevent these rates from doublinging if they can cut things like preventive health care for women instead. so -- we shouldn't have to
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choose between women having preventive health care and young people keeping their student loan rates low. . [ applause ] some of the republicans in the house are coming up with all sorts of different reasons why is we should just let these rates double. one of them compared student loans to is taken 3 cancer of socialism. whatever that means. i don't know. another warned that this is all about giving you a free college education which doesn't make sense because of course, loans aren't free. you've got to pay them back. the spokesman for the speaker of the house said that we were, meaning me, were just talking about student loans to distract folks from the economy. now, this makes no sense because this is all about the economy.
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making sure -- [ applause ] making sure our young people can earn the best possible education? that's one of the best things we can do for the economy. making sure college is available to everyone and not just a few at the top. that's one of the best things we can do for our economy. and i don't think it's fair when they suggest that students like you should pay more so we can bring down deficits that they helped to run up over the past decade. they just voted -- [ applause ] we've got to do something about our deficits. you know, the -- we paid for two wars with a credit card. debt that you're going to have to pay off. we gave two tax cuts to folks that don't need it and weren't asking for it. they, the republicans in the
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house just voted to keep giving billions of taxpayer dollars every year to big oil companies raking in record profits, they just voted to let millionaires and billionaires keep paying lower tax rates than middle class workers. they even voted to give an average tax cut of at least $150,000 to every millionaire in america and they want you to pay an extra thousand dollars a year for college. i don't know. that doesn't make sense. in america, we admire success, we aspire to it. i was talking to folks, rena wants to study business and i'm confident she's going to be really wealthy some day, and you know, we want all of you to work and hustle and study your tails off. and achieve your dreams. but america is not just about protecting a few people who are doing well. america is about giving everybody a chance to do well. that's what makes us strong. that's what the american dream's all about. [ applause ]
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you know, everybody -- everybody here, you're only here, you're only succeeding because somebody somewhere felt a responsibility not just to themselves, not even just to their own families but to the country as a whole. and now, it's our turn to be responsible. it's our turn to keep that promise alive for the next generation. so if you agree with me that i need all of you -- i see a lot of cell phones here and a lot of -- all kinds of stuff. i want you to send a message to congress. tell them, don't double my rate. don't double my rate. you should call them, you should e-mail them right on their facebook page, tweet them. tweet them. teach your parents how to tweet.
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and use the hashtag don't double my rate. don't double my rate. [ applause ] don't double it. i asked some students at the university of north carolina and university of colorado and university of iowa to do this last week and they got it trending worldwide for a while. so -- too that was president obama speaking to students at washington and lee high school in arlington, virginia, addressing the economy and his plans to subsidize students loans. joining me today liz marlantes, political commenter an lish yar menendez patricia murphy, citizen jane politics and buzzfeed editor in chief, the always buzzy ben smith. folks, we just heard the president talking a little bit about jobs numbers at the top. unfortunately, there was some sort of terrible storm going over the washington area. so we missed that. we apologize if you were
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watching at home but he was speaking at length about students loans. i want to talk about the jobs numbers first. we know that numbers are disappointing if the word only precedes them as in the u.s. economy only the created 115,000 jobs last month. liz, you're new to this rodeo. let's talk to you first. this is not necessarily what the white house wants although better that these numbers come out now than later on in the year. >> yes, economists have been talking to some extent it seems like there's a first quarter curse where we've seen in the last couple years that it looks like things are getting better and there's a dip for a while where things get worse and it picks up in the summer. maybe that will happen this time around. these numbers are bad. what's striking about the numbers is not just the low rate of job production, but the participation rate has gotten to be terrible. the highest since 1981. >> yeah, i believe the participation rate is 63.6%. that is as you said, the highest or the lowest since 1981.
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the other staggering statistic is the long-term unemployed. we talk about folks, that's folks who have been without a job for 27 weeks or more. that number has basically held steady at 5.1 million. those unemployed folks make up 41.3% of the unemployed. which is that's drastic. >> yeah, you know, the number ticked down a teeny bit so that's okay news for the administration, but voters. >> the unemployment rate. >> i'm sorry. i'm not sure what i just said. >> there's a lot of numbers out there. >> but i don't think that the american people sit around and look at economic reports from the bureau of labor statistics. they have their own jobs report. do i have a job, does my spouse have a job, does my brother-in-law have a job, do my kids have any shot of getting a job out of college. i think that is what the obama administration has to be so worried about. when you look at the right track, wrong track, to me that's the most important. 30% of americans think we're on the right track.
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62% think we're on the wrong track. how do you get re-elected with those numbers? people are really hurting. it doesn't matter what the unemployment number is, everybody know it's fudged around the ends. they want to know what's happening in their lives and the people they care about. >> ben, this is not preventing the republicans -- they're seizing this moment. the bracketing strategy is in full effect. mitt romney is speaking right now. ez he spoke this morning. there have been statements from house leadership it, house republican leadership on the jobs number which are predictably gloomy and dissatisfied. >> i think what you see is the white house is cheerleading the recovery and now locked into making the case that there is a robust recovery. romney is making the case there isn't, these numbers are terrible. each month you reset this argument around these numbers. it is very difficult to see how obama continues to tell this story about the economy getting better if it's not really getting better. >> this is, i mean it, small the right phrase to use here? the president is trying to do
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anything, republicans are calling it political maneuvering. but he's working on student loans. that's supposed to be evidence that he's trying to make it better for those out there who are needs students whose interest rates may double by july. another gloomy assessment of that from the "wall street journal," andrew biggs of the american enterprise institute writing what college graduates need most is not the band-aid of lower student loan payments but an economy its capable of creating new jobs. that the best the president can offer them is lower student loan payments shows how far thursday white house's aspirations have fallen. >> there is a compound problem. they're getting out of school and can't find jobs. on top of that, they're getting hit with debt. it's important that the white house is taking it on. we do contextize this in terms of people who have college degrees but it's important to remember, members of my generation only a third of us have four-year degrees. it's the two-thirds that don't have those degrees that are really struggling in this
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economy. >> the president is, however, i mean it's important to draw attention to the fact that he is running a campaign and we should be fair. the campaign officially kicks off tomorrow. we have new numbers out from yesterday, a "washington post" poll shows -- it's a margin of error of plus or minus 4%. among all voters obama at 51%, romney at 44%. among women, obama is still killing it to put tlt officially in sort of mathematically. 56%, romney at 38%. this is -- i will quote myself on twitter. i don't know that you can describe how he's doing among black voters other than to say he is whomping mitt romney, 97% to 1%. and yet, and yet, lis marlantes, charles krauthammer in the "washington post" calls obama the divider in chief, slice and dice, group against group, there is a problem, however, it makes a mockery of obama's pose as the great transcender uniter healer of visions.
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making the argument his focus on the arizona immigration law on women's health and is dividing the population. those numbers would seem to point otherwise. >> well, yes and no. i mean, we've already seen how obama is going to lose the white vote to romney. the question is by how much. and there are certain dem graph nicks even within the white vote he is probably going to do worse among this time around than last, specifically people in the business community, people on wall street who maybe were inclined to support him last time and not supporting him this time around. because of that, he's going to need better numbers among minority groups. >> you're just dealing with a situation which you don't need a white majority anymore. democrats haven't for a while. that's something everybody is reckoning with that you can lose the white vote and that's fine. >> the this tells you more about krautheimer's view of america than it does about barack obama's. when you talk about sb 107, all the undocumented don't live in one apartment building.
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they live in your community. when you talk about women, it's not just women making choices for themselves but for their entire family. yes, these does tend to be constituency issues but issues that affect us all. >> one of the most racially dividing loss, arizona's sb 1070 somehow protesting that is inherently racially divisive seems to be flawed. >> responding to what state legislatures are doing which is slicing and dicing, picking out groups to have legislation and target those groups. this is really in response. is the obama administration slicing or dicing or targeted messaging? i think it's just smart politics. >> that is a very good segway to a point made in the chicago tribune today which is that obama is going to be running what some folks have called it will look less like a national presidential campaign and through targeted messaging and voter specific campaigning, it will look a lot more like a well run senate campaign in several different states.
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>> what's that great re-election campaigns often look like. george w. bush was sending flyers to people in west virginia, warning about gay marriage. then obama, krautheimer has a point. obama ran as a national candidate and avoided specific constituency pitches. this year he's running a more traditional campaign which does involve pitches to specific groups. >> but didn't the republican party create that field for him targeting racial minorities? >> karl rove invented microtarget. he was the genius. that's how they got elected and re-elected. it's just politics, not some evil force. >> the other point is i think it was boehner yesterday was criticizing the obama campaign for engaging in what he called a lot of fake fights rather than dealing with the big issues that are affecting average americans. of course, at this point it's absolutely impossible to deal with the big issues affecting average americans. congress isn't going to do anything. obama isn't going to pass another stimulus.
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>> he can barely pass a payroll tax cut. >> what he's got. >> i don't know, does julia, the new campaign tool, qualify as small? i don't know, this is a new obama that we're showing you guys right now what that is. the life of julia from ages 3 to 65 under president obama and under what president romney and his policies. and basically, makes the case that is president obama's policies better serve this madgery julia than president romney's policies might. of course, the rnc seized on this and said in a tweet director tim miller said new obama graphic concede taz basic government's role as taking care of people from cradle to grave. yea, government. >> it's a little offensive honest as a woman to see here is a woman at every step of her life. we can take care of her nobody worry i know that's not what they're trying to say. >> why can't it be jules?
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>> a lot of women found this pretty effective in terms of articulating the differentiation that you believe that government is an engine of opportunity. they can offer you opportunities that they can level a playing field at every stage of your life. particularly important with young people who sometimes don't feel that the government is relative to them and to their lives. i think for that constituency, this does a great job of communicating the core message into this was speaking the language of the internet in a certain way. i think that's what both campaigns are figuring out right now, the image which republicans repurposed, reused the image. if you look at how many people tweeted about this, it was like 5,000 people. basically no one. totally internal conversation. >> that's a buzzfeed metric. 5,000 people is no one. >> it's not -- that's not the national number of people. this is the campaign's taking these baby steps out into the language of the internet into this sort of new visual language and trying to figure out how to use it. >> they can't contain it to your
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adorable mean to the young people. it gets out to the broader ethernet. i think it's a bad message. >> i think the government creating a system whereby people get access to good educations and maybe can have loans so they can start small businesses ain't a nanny state. i actually thought it made the point quite nicely. of course, everybody has their own thinking on this. >> the other point i think that some republicans made which i do think is legitimate is a lot of these projections, nobody thinks that even if obama is re-elected that some of these things will last 30 years out, that the picture isn't going to be completely different at that point. >> he won't be president forever. after the break, an outside group tries to swift boat the president over the killing of osama bin laden. we'll discuss that next on "now." ♪
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♪ >> i said that i'd go after bin laden if we had a clear shot at him, and di. >> that is a new ad from a group called veterans for a strong america. a self-described nonpartisan organization dedicated to mobilizing veteran voters. the ad is strikingly reminiscent of the anti-john kerry ads led by swift vets in 2004. >> john kerry has not been honest. >> and he lacks the capacity to lead. >> when the chips were down, you could not count on john kerry. >> john kerry is no war hero. >> i actually tried to show as little of that ad as possible because i find the premise of the repugnant which is to say that president obama has somehow taken too much credit for the killing of osama bin laden because he didn't pull the trigger. if you've read the articles in "time" magazine and many other
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publications the decision making was a month's long process and the president in my opinion showed true leadership in the entire exercise. ben, you were saying this is the beginning of some backlash on the killing of bin laden. >> yeah, i think what michael hastings reported for us yesterday you're going to see a group of navy seals criticize obama for politicizing this. there is a central unfairness to it. he made the decision. he was the president. he was not in a position to pull the trigger. presidents get to take credit for their records. i think there's a very conservative military community that does not like him and going to speak out about him. it's not john kerry. they're not saying he lied about his personal record, about his medals. >> and the rationale is a no-brain no-brainer. people say obama's handling of terrorism is a reason to put him back in office. republicans are seeing those numbers and know they need to go up with ads like this. >> the swift boat stuff came out much later in the race. the fact this stuff is coming out now is a sign of the
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nasiness to come. >> the swift boat ad changed the trat jectory of that race. there are some dangers for obama on this but not really. the swift boat ads, those were so personal. you can't take away from obama what happened under his watch. i think that people just normal everyday people walking around are grateful for that. there's no way a republican ad is going to change that. >> there's an argument every time you talk about killing osama bin laden, that's better than talking about the jobs numbers. >> but the question is, to what extent the fact that he did kill osama bin laden and he has very high marks on all sorts of national security issues to what extent that can actually really upend a stereotype that has persisted for like 50 years in elections right now of democrats as being the weaker party on national security. >> it will be very interesting to see in this election if he can hang on to that lead on that particular issue because it would be a totally unique situation for democrats. >> in 2016 and beyond. coming up, as mitt romney criticizes president obama's economic policies during a speech in pittsburgh, we will
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discuss the growing debate over income inequality. that is next on "now." [ male announcer ] what's in your energy drink? ♪ power surge, let it blow your mind. [ male announcer ] for fruits, veggies and natural green tea energy... new v8 v-fusion plus energy. could've had a v8. between taking insulin, new v8testing my blood sugar. is this part of your life? freestyle lite test strips? why, are they any beep! wow, that hardly needs any blood! yeah. and the unique zipwik tab targets the blood and pulls it in. so easy. freestyle lite needs just a third the blood of onetouch ultra. really? yep, which is great for people who use insulin and test a lot. max and i are gonna run out and get some right now. or you can call or click today and get strips and a meter free. test easy. blast of cold feels nice.
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great grains. search great grains and see for yourself. for multi grain flakes that are an excellent source of fiber try great grains banana nut crunch and cranberry almond crunch. we paid for two wars with a credit card. and they want to you pay an extra thousand dollars a year for college. >> that was president obama talking to high school students in virginia. the speech comes on the heels of a new report showing anemic job growth. joining us now is senior editor of the new republic timothy noah, author of the great divergence" a book everybody should read. i wanted to jump off of some numbers in the "new york times" on the editorial page today talking about debt held by the top 1% or top 5 versus it the bottom 95%. in 1983, the top 5% in this country, 80 cents of debt was held for every dollar of income. in 19 3 in it erms of the
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bottom, 60 cents. those numbers have greatly changed. in 2007, the top 5% held 65 cents of debt for every dollar, in 2007, the bottom 95% held $1.40 for every dollar of income. debt is a massive problem. and it points to another issue which you tackle mightily in this book which is income inequality. tell us how -- this is a pattern you say started beginning in the mid-1970s. tell us how it sort of began. >> well, if we start with the mid-20th country incomes were becoming more equal as the economy was booming, '50s and '60s from about 1934 through 1979 we saw incomes become ever more equal in the united states. that reversed after 192379. incomes became more unequal, steadily more unequal. and i think the debt numbers you cite reflect the fact that a lot of people are trying to keep up with the joneses by borrowing. >> right, the sense that i will
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go into debt to maintain my lifestyle and or pay for my student loans or my credit card debt or my mortgage. paul krugman today in the "new york times" saying the real problem is in our political system which has been warped and paralyzed by the power of a small wealthy minority. the key to economic recovery lies in finding a way to get past that the minority's influence. just a few minutes ago mitt romney said to his audience responding to post but thing even isn't a word, liberal policies don't work. what liberals know is wrong. we have a major divide in terms of how to tackle this economy and how to tackle growing income inequality. ben? >> and i think that's why as liz said before, nothing is going to happen in washington this year. totally divergent philosophies and the republican answer really is just tax cuts at this point very much primarily tax cuts, suspicious of any kind of spending program. and i think there's a stopgap. >> timothy in his piece, paul
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ugh issed close that income gap. there needs to be a strengthening of collective bargaining which is basically political kryptonite in certain circles and mortgage modifications which is not something the white house has paid much attention to. >> i think a lot of people are afraid to talk about mortgage modifications. that was the issue that create the tea party to begin with. but there's clearly a need for more mortgage modifications and certainly we need to revibe the labor movement in this country. i mean, the growth of income inequality tracks very closely the decline of labor. we have seen a massive decline in what's called union density. now only about 7% of the prive sector workforce is unionized. that's about where we were at the start of the new deal. >> but how do you -- you say that and the sort of, the stigmaization of unions in this country is quite broad. look at what's happening at the state level, the idea you'd want
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to strengthen the unions seems like an anathema to some folks. >> he we have this terrible adversarial union culture. i said they're down to 7%. you can have any culture you want at this point. >> i do think though in terms of the unions, one thing that they're struggling with is that companies now have the flexibility to just pick up and leave if they don't like the union culture. we see boeing building their new big jetliner in south carolina because there are no unions. if you drive through georgia and alabama, it's one after another car factory popping up and powering those economies. they have come down from the northeast and midwest because was union culture. even if among the american people, a lot of people don't know what unions are and have no experience with them. for companies if they are willing to pick up and move and leave where the unions have a stronghold, i don't know how you fight against that. >> that's a good example. that was in violation of labor law. one of the problems is labor law doesn't get enforced. one interesting idea floated by
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richard col inberg at the century foundation is that since people don't seem to respond to the notion of workers right, why not make the right to unionize a civil right. that would give it a lot more tooth. teeth. you'd be able to have workers blocked from organizing able to take their employers to court and sue them. >> i want to touch on you know the income gap specifically because do you write about it in the book. and we talked earlier in this week about a book by a former boyne colleague of mitt romney's, edward connard who has a new book out that argues that income inequality is great for society and evidence that society is working and that the wealth accumulated by the top 1% is not just trickle down economics but that wealth is for every $1 the public gets $20 in value. >> it's funny to me when i think back during the reagan administration, david stockman got caught saying to "the atlantic monthly that supplyside economics was trickle down economics.
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this was seen as a terrible scandal that republicans believed in trickle down economics. now they preach it. if i were the obama campaign i would be overjoyed this former partner of romney's is defending income inequality. it's a ridiculous argument. i don't think anybody is in favor of inequality. basically he's saying what he's essentially saying is something that's elementary to all sides of the debate which is yes, you need a certain amount of income inequality to make capitalism work. you don't need ever growing income inequality. >> timothy, thank you for joining us. the book is "the greatdy vergesence." coming up, a possible break through in talks regarding activist guangcheng. the political rhetoric surrounding it next on "now." [ male announcer ] this was how my day began.
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progress o progress has been made to help him have the future that he wants. this is not just about well-known activists. it's about the human rights and aspirations of more than a billion people here in china and billions more around the world. >> that was secretary of state hillary clinton speaking in china today about a possible diplomatic break through that could allow high profile activist chen guangcheng to leave china for studies notice united states. alisha, there's been a lot of discussion about this, there's been a lot of pontificating and persevere rating to use an alliteration what's going to happen. this would seem to be a win for united states diplomacy on the heels of what could have been sort of a disaster. he chen guangcheng came out yesterday saying he wanted to come to the u.s., that he had been pressured to get out of the embassy. it seems like we crafted a deal
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where he gets totes study at american university. >> hillary clinton does it again. they worked their way out of this. but there didn't seem to be -- while there were questions about what had happened, the only person really out there pushing a narrative that this was definitely going to go in the wrong direction or had already gone in the direction was mitt romney. he had a speech where at about five different occasions like if what i'm hearing is true, we really bungled, if what i'm hearing is true. >> let's play mitt romney from this morning on fox. >> some of the press reports coming from china suggest that we may not have been as effective in protecting his freedom as we should have been and if those reports are true, that would be a very dark day for freedom. >> now, liz, this goes to exactly what we were talking about which is the foreign policy equation. you can't let the white house have any wins on foreign policy. can democrats actually take this away from republicans? >> i mean, i feel like throughout the cycle, we've felt republicans almost wishing that some foreign policy crisis would come up like iran.
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maybe it's going to be iran or maybe north korea. >> they have a lot of options. >> we've got to get the jimmy carter thing happening again. we need some sort of hostage situation, not really obviously. but there is this tendency to try to find a darkside on foreign policy. so far they haven't been able to find one. >> you see obama responding to this pressure from his right all through the administration, particularly on israel and palestinians. but i mean, i think what will be interesting is if the crisis comes september and october between israel and iran or from one of the regional players there decides that's a great time to pick a really high profile fight. and you know, which side obama takes there. >> one person who was pushing some bad news also was chen himself. i've never seen a more dialed in. >> dialed in to the congressional hearings. >> under house arrest dialing up "the new york times." but i do think just to a quick domestic political note, it seems like the beginning of the hillary clinton for 2016 effort because for a woman always the biggest question, the biggest
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hurd is foreign policy. she's out there getting it done. it's a little bit amazing to watch her in action. there was no sense of certainty that this was going to turn around until she goes to the microphone and says yes, it's okay. nobody worry so good moment for her. >> it is a great moment for hillary clinton. >> as long as it ends up the way it looks like it will. >> if it is the breakthrough we think it is. i will say i thought whether it was john boehner coming out with his criticism or mitt romney with his criticism, we talk about statesmen and party -- or national unity. i thought it was somewhat not only unfair but disgraceful that the criticisms were being lobbied at a secretary of state and an administration while very sensitive diplomatic negotiations were under way, not just with sort of like a state like iran where we have -- there are obviously strategic interests but they're not the same economically certainly as the ones we are with china. it undermines the message we are sending to have such a loud
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crowd back home second-guessing the secretary of state. >> i would take it a step further and say this is mitt romney's opportunity to come out and articulate some foreign policy plan but it's never a proactive message. it's never this is what america will look like under president romney. it's only a constant drum beat attacking the president. that's going to get really old for voters. >> his stance on china is very questionable, is it not, liz? he has a very aggressive posture. he's talked, quote unquote, tough about what he would do with the chinese on currency manipulation and so forth. but then of course, when it gets down to the negotiating table, it's quite a different story. >> obviously. i think the backdrop to all of this was the fact that bottom line, the relationship with china that matters most in a very basic way to most americans is the economic relationship. what's that's hillary clinton was there to deal with primarily. yes, this was an important individual case. but you know, china's
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relationship in terms of economic terms is a big deal to most americans. it's going to affect what happens with our economy. >> it's worth noting that that piece of the strategic dialogue, "the new york times" is saying that according to a times interview with u.s. officials, china has gone further than ever in allowing competition with its powerful state-owned enterprises. we'll have to unpack exactly what the secretary of state got when she returns home after her trip to different asian countries. it was a week of hits and misses on the political circuits. we'll look back at the west and the worst when we ask what just happened? that's next.
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it is officially campaign silly season even though the general election hasn't quite officially started yet. it's time to look back and ask, what just happened? >> and i was born of course, in hawaii.
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after a commanding performance by the president this past weekend -- >> in the vast magnificent hilton ballroom or what mitt romney would call a little fixer upper. >> mitt romney tried to prove he had what it took to be comic in chief. >> as stiff. and -- he's not. he's funny. there's a wild and crazy man inside of there. >> there were age jokes. >> my sweetheart of i don't know, let's see hum years. no, no, i know how many years we've been married. we've been married 43 years. >> i just did the math than makes me old. >> there were practical jokes. >> he's a closet prankster. we'll send him over to your house, he'll short sheet you. >> and there was the warm represent partake romney had with his audience. >> mitt romney, you're a racist. >> i can't hear. >> you things for these guys aren't going that well.
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>> gags aside, romney spent much of the week talking economics. voodoo economics. >> the president's focused on taking away from those that have the least. borrow money if you have to from your parents. >> while ron paul decided to explain the nuances of the economy of ancient rome. >> the byzantine empire had a gold standard for 1,000 years and they did quite well but the roman empire eventually destroyed their currency. >> speak of ancient leaders rupert murdoch's empire was shaken. >> rupert murdoch is not fit to run an international company. >> while another leader recognized that his time too had come. >> i'm suspending the campaign. moon colony was probably not my most clever comment in this campaign. >> questionable decisions. >> we are brave heart. >> can sometimes yield compelling results. >> have you heard from the romney campaign after these comments. >> i have. >> other times, just terrible, terrible mistakes.
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>> i tan. she doesn't tan. it's called etaning booth. and etaning room. >> then again, in politics, compelling and terrible aren't always that will far apart. >> i'm an extremely loving passionate man. you can find a screening process more powerful than that, i'll [ bleep ] or how does that sound? >> politics is weird. and creepy. >> that is of course, a harmon ca playing elephant. in case it wasn't clear, we threw it in there twice. ben, i always like starting with you on the what just happened videos because you're here every fry. also because you have that intern joy of life and uncanny sense of what's funny and what isn't. what was the craziest thing to happen this week. a lot of crazy things happened. >> i thought that the clip of shep smith, this moment as you transition from the weirdness of
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the primary into the real unreality of a general election campaign where people will be repeating whatever it is they're repeating in the face of whatever the reality is, including that mitt romney what he was particularly weirded out by was that is mitt romney and newt gingrich are personally close. people say things that are evidently not true all the time. >> or the clip of mitt romney saying president obama wants to take from the poor and that just was sort of accepted as okay. patricia? >> this week, what was both inevitable and i thought it would never happen and never come to this, newt dropping out. >> a sad day. >> he's a very passionate man. i'm going to miss that passion. i don't feel like he's really going away. >> can't help himself. this was a time to not talk about the lunar colony and yet, he had to bring it up. >> it was his best chance ever. everyone was paying attention. >> buzzfeed is hoping to bring newt to the bronx zoo with us. >> wow. we can do a full-court press on that, please, newt, go to the zoo with buzzfeed. liz?
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>> i would have to go with ann romney's interview on cbs which i wrote about this week. i just think he's got to the stop calling him a wild and crazy guy. it just rings so untrue. and you know, in many, many interviews she's done variations of that. she called him the life of the party and "entertaiment tonight" i think. it's just not helping. it reminds me of you know, al gore when they sent tipper out repeatedly to try because she was seen as more likable and personable. it didn't work. it made it worse. >> there's nothing less funny than somebody repeatedly telling everybody how funny you are. >> i think she's pretty funny. that killed the entire video. i do think there is something about the fact she is really personable. i'm sure she does think that he's great and it's so hard forler that other people can't see it. the problem for them is do you want a president who's likable or gets the job done. that's the only other direction to go in.
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equally disastrous. >> maybe that is a line they should choose because the funny wild and crazy thing doesn't seem to be sticking. thanks to alicia, liz, patricia and ben. i'll see you back here monday when i'm joined by aere mel ber. until then you can find us at andr"andrea mitchell reports" i next. >> have a great weekend. coming up, a deal to let a chinese dissent study abroad. will it prevent a diplomatic nightmare. chris smith held an emergency meeting on that yesterday and joins us today with his reaction. and did mitt romney weigh in on the china problem too quickly in former national security adviser stephen hadley joins us. and hilda solis will help us break down that jobs report. not good numbers today. all that next on andrea mitchell reports". lled in the national math and science initiative... ...which helped students and teachers get better results in ap courses. together, they raised ap test scores 138%.
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through in beijing. the u.s. and china appear to have a deal for blind activist chen guangcheng to study in the u.s. >> we are also encouraged by the official statement issued today by the chinese government confirming that he can apply to travel abroad for this purpose. >> but will that deal hold up? after hillary clinton leaves beijing? another months, another week unemployment report. only 115,000 new jobs in april, fewer than expected. and more of the unemployed have just given up. >> there's still a lot of folks out of work which means that we've got to do more. if we're going to recover all the jobs that were lost during the recession and if we're going to build a secure economy that strengthens the middle class, we have to do more. >> the unemployment rate has dropped to 8.1%. and normally that would be cause for celebration. bu


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